Dealing with work-related injuries can be highly complicated, especially if you are self-employed. Usually, employees can apply for workers’ compensation after an on-the-job injury. These benefits will pay for their medical expenses and cover their lost wages during recovery. However, things are not so straightforward when you are an independent contractor.
These days there are more independent workers than ever before. This is thanks to the gig economy’s growth and because many companies often misclassify their employees to cut costs. No matter the case, your chances of receiving compensation after a work injury will depend on how you are classified. However, you may also have other options if you are unable to receive workers’ compensation. Keep reading to find out all the details.
What is an independent contractor?
Workers who perform a job for an employer may be independent contractors or employees. If you are an employee, the company you work for will control how you do your job and pay payroll taxes on your behalf. On the other hand, if you are an independent contractor, your income will be subject to self-employment taxes, and your employer won’t directly control any aspect of your work.
However, just because you are classified as an independent contractor doesn’t mean you are one in the eyes of the law. If your employer controls how your service is performed, is financially involved in how your tasks are completed, or there is no clear business-to-business relationship during the work, you may be considered an employee rather than an independent contractor.
Can you get workers comp as an independent contractor?
Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state. However, certain things remain the same across the United States. One of those basic principles is that workers’ compensation does not cover independent contractors. The workers’ compensation system only applies to employees.
However, many employers mistakenly qualify their employees as independent contractors to save themselves some money. If you want to determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you should contact a Los Angeles workers’ compensation law firm, such as C&B Law Group. An experienced attorney can evaluate your employment situation in-depth and help you determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation.
Alternatives to workers’ compensation for independent contractors
If you don’t qualify for workers’ compensation, it’s not the end of the world. You still have options to receive the compensation you need to cover your medical expenses and your loss of income. Some of the alternatives to workers’ compensation are the following:
File a personal injury claim
As an independent contractor, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer following a work-related injury. However, you will have to prove that your employer was responsible for your damages.
File a claim against a third party
Suppose another company besides your employer is responsible for your injuries. In that case, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them for compensation.
File a premises liability claim
Property owners have a duty of care. That means they should make sure that their premises are relatively safe. For example, if you are injured while visiting a client, you might want to consider holding them liable through a personal injury claim.
Pursue a product liability claim if possible
If you were injured due to a defective product, vehicle, or tool, you might be able to hold the manufacturer accountable through a product liability claim.
Get independent workers insurance
On the other hand, you can also anticipate possible injuries by purchasing an insurance policy for self-employed workers. That way, you will be protected at all times.
If you want to know the best option for your case, consider consulting with a workers’ compensation attorney near you for more information.